Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A General and His Conscience

An imaginary conversation between Gen Musharraf and his conscience ( Assuming always that the tin pot dictator who is the self proclaimed Ataturk of modern times has one )

Gen Musharraf: Guess what? We are now victims of terror alongwith India.
His Conscience: Hats off to you , dude
GM: That was a neat piece of work , if I do say so myself. Really pulled the wool over Mannu's eyes.
HC: Those Indians are suckers anyway. But how do you propose to rein in the ISI. What about if the Indians give you a proof of some impending terrorist attack?
GM: Dont worry. If I get any such proof, I will be immediately on the phone to the ISI to postpone the attack so our poor jihadi brothers are not caught.
HC: You really do think of everything dont you?
GM: Ahem , ahem , I try to do my best. Speaking of which I am thinking of some initiatives to make Pakistan a world power in IT/ BPO , try and emulate India's success.
HC: You know we should stick to what we do best. Indians excel at IT/BPO , leave them to do it. We on the other hand are rated the world over for churning out highly motivated , highly skilled terrorists...
GM: You do have a point...You know something? The Library of The US Congress is highly overrated.
HC: How so?
GM: They claim to be the largest library in the world. But I didnt find a single copy of my autobiography 'In the Line of Fire' there?
HC: Did you check the Fiction / Fantasy category dude ?!?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

At The Crossroads

I knew all along this moment would come
That knowledge doesnt make my job any easier
Would things have worked out different
if I had known it would come to this

The time to take the decision is nigh
The time to choose between the old and the new
The old with all its known comforts
the new with its allure , yet know not what it hides

I know my decision was made long ago
What for this hesitation then
Have given a promise got to keep it
Goodbye to the old, ring in the new.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Death of Dreams

A listing of some very moving / inspiring quotes I came across recently

Sabse khatarnaak hota hai hamaare sapnon ka mar jaana.
(There is nothing more dangerous than the death of our dreams.)
–Punjabi poet Avtaar Singh Sandhu (Paash)

"If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine."
Che Guevara

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist."
Dom Helder Camara

Like all of Aesop's fables , every post should have a moral rt? What should this one's be?
Ningal enne Communist aaki?

Mandira da jawab nahin

This post is dedicated to Mandira Bedi - of Shanthi fame.She was made famous by Set Max during their telecast of the last cricket World Cup. Who can forget her compering the show in that transparent brown sari.

And now she is back with a bang in Extraaa Innings for the Champions Trophy.

So what if her sound bytes are next only to the Sidhuisms pouring out from that other clown's mouth. Doesnt your TV remote have a mute button? For those worried about the next do or die match for India v/s Australia this Sunday ( Oct 29th ) relax - theres always Mandira to look forward to.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Eyes Wide Shut

Imrana's case is hitting the headlines these days. For those who have not heard of Imrana, here are the salient features. Imrana accused her father-in-law of rape. The case was tried in court and the father-in-law was found guilty. So far so good. Now comes the googly. Some Muslim maulavis came up with the contention that since Imrana herself has admitted to having sex outside marriage, she is guilty of adultery and so should be divorced by her husband !

Most interesting in this matter has been the All India Muslim Personal Law Board's ( AIMPLB ) reaction to all this. A lawyer associated with AIMPLB had something of this sort to say ( Iam unable to lay my hands on the article so cannot quote ): "There is a school of thought that Imrana did not commit any crime, so no need for divorce. We support that.There is another group of people saying, she is guilty of infidelity and so should be divorced.We do not oppose that either. So it is basically upto Imrana to decide what course of action to pursue". Doesnt this just take the cake. This from the self proclaimed highest decision making body on Muslim laws in India. Just imagine if the SC had given this judgement in the Afzal case: " The Defence has shown reasonable doubt so Afzal should be acquitted. However, the Prosecution has given convincing evidence so he should be hanged. We are basically happy with whatever decision the President takes".

I have been reading up on the AIMPLB ( specifically articles by C M Naim on Outlook ). I agree with him wholeheartedly when he says the AIMPLB is a discredited body which gains its importance only from the media coverage it gets. It is not at all relevant in today's circumstances ( Its president some time back issued a statement saying contraception should not be followed as it is against Allah's wishes. When it was pointed out that Iran was successfully using this, he had some not-so-polite things to say about Iran. Seems there is something to Naim's contentions of a Shia - Sunni divide with the AIPMLB being dominated by the Sunnis)

It would be a real tragedy if the non Muslims in this country were to judge the whole Muslim community based on the ignorant comments of some AIMPLB leaders. The media has a real role to play. By giving prominence to the outdated specimens they are stifling the saner and moderate voices among Indian Muslims. Whether that is precisely the intention is another question.

There are None so Blind as Those who will not see.

Monday, October 23, 2006

You Broke it , You Fix it

There has been talk recently about the US looking for a viable exit strategy from Iraq. It would have been hilarious if it wasnt such a sick joke - you go into a secular ( yes , Iraq was secular under Saddam ) country , depose an elected govt ( hell Saddam's 99% votes compared favourably with Musharraf's 99.9% votes ), install a puppet Islamic govt there , leave the country on the brink of Civil War ( Sunnis and Shias, with the Kurds joining in wherever they can ) , and then catch the next flight home.

When the US invaded Iraq, their reasons were clear to Bush and the majority of Americans - Saddam was somehow behind the 9/11 attacks. Of course the fact that Iraqi agents had been arrested for trying to assassinate George Bush Sr. had nothing to do with it. The President of the US could be expected to rise above such base nepotic considerations. Of course , there was not a shred of evidence to connect Saddam to Osama. But so what , we had Dubya's word didnt we?

As the hysteria mounted , the US came out with a backup theory for the Iraq invasion. Saddam was developing chemical weapons, it was claimed. Colin Powell did a presentation before the UN , in which he showed pictures of mobile missile launchers. There were reports of Saddam trying to procure nuclear material from Niger ( which was found to be totally baseless by a US official - by a strange coincidence within days of him debunking the nuclear claim , his wife's identity as a CIA undercover operative was outed. So much for getting on Dubya's wrong side. The trial for this case is still going on - in the US , divulging a CIA operative's identity is a criminal offence ).

But all these were mere distractions to the main plot. Ignoring world opinion , the US went ahead with their 'Shock and Awe' campaign. Imagine Dubya's mortification , when the invasion exposed all his claims and charges for what they were - a pack of lies. So what ? Like a trained conjurer , Dubya pulled out the trump rabbit from his hat. We are in Iraq to bring Democracy here. The New Iraq will be a beacon of light and hope for the entire Middle East. After years of playing with Coke and Pepsi , the Americans, it seemed had now decided to export Democracy.

Of course , the fallout is now clear. There are more terrorists in Iraq now than there ever were ( if any at all ) under Saddam. The presence of nearly two lakh American soldiers in Iraq can be only an attraction for them. And we will be paying the price for this. In the 1980s , the CIA trained Mujahideen to take on USSR in Afghanistan. Once the Russians withdrew, these out of work valiants turned their attention to other areas - Kashmir among them.

I just finished reading an article about Bush admitting parallels between Iraq and Vietnam. America messed up in Vietnam. But all that did was deflate American ego. Iraq is a different cup of tea. We ( The rest of the World ) will be paying the price in the years to come for Dubya's misadventure in Iraq. Colin Powell is reported to have told George W Bush before the invasion , "We Break it , We own it". The US invasion of Iraq was one of the blunders of this century. Leaving the country now in this mess, will only compound the issue.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Confused Hindu in Secular India

"But why do you refer to it as a mosque at all? Where is the mosque, my friends, when the namaz is not performed? When for forty years idol worship is going on there, what kind of a mosque is it? That is just the temple of our dear Ram." This is the secular saint of modern India, V P Singh speaking to RSS leaders about the Babri Masjid on the eve of the 1989 elections. Of course , our dear old V P changed his tune after the elections, when Imam Bukhari and others warned him that handing over the Babri Masjid site might set a precedent for the claim of other sites currently owned by the Waqf board.The irony of the matter is V P is still the foremost secular voice in this country. In India, Secularism presumably means pandering to all religions.

Remember the seige of Hazratbal? Indian Intelligence got news of high level militants hiding in a mosque there. The Indian army surrounded the place and after 2-3 days negotiations began - not for the surrender of the militants holed up there but for their safe passage . Their guarantee to freedom - they were holed up in one of India's holiest Islamic shrines. Forget the fact that eight years before the same Indian Army had destroyed the Golden Temple to flush out the terrorists there. But the situation was different now. Blue Star was ordered by Indira Gandhi , Hazratbal by a weak but secular Narasimha Rao. I still remember L K Advani deriding the Govt with "Bullets for the kar sevaks, Biriyani for the terrorists".

In 1990, over two lakh people were forcibly evicted from their homes. 16 long years hence , they are still refugees in their own country.Iam talking about the Kashmiri Pandits. Long ago, Mr L K Advani had asked this telling question about them: "What, and how much would our 'national papers' have been writing about them had they not been Hindus, if they had been Muslims in particular?" But pay no attention to Advani, he is that well known Hindu fundamentalist. As long as our enlightened liberals ,Arundhati Roy et al , havent commented on this , things must be just fine.

After the Vajpayee Govt assumed power in 1999, there was a revamp of the ICHR ( Indian Council for Historical Research ). Some known pro leftist historians ( Romila Thapar among them ) were replaced. And Lo a cry was heard across the land "Saffronisation of history". Sitaram Yechury criticised the move saying it was "politically motivated". I remember being amused at the time - How could the removal have been political if the appointments themselves hadnt been political in the first place. But of course, I was missing the whole point. The removal decision was taken by a fascist BJP govt , the appointments done by a secular Congress one. What else can you expect in a country where every party other than the BJP and Shiv Sena is secular.

Recently there was an incident where a committee asked the Indian Army ( among other organizations ) to release a religion wise census of its numbers - the idea presumably was to see if there was a representation of Indian Muslims in the Army in proportion to their population. There was a huge hue and cry at the time.The govt finally gave in when even the Leftists opposed this. There was an article by Shekhar Gupta around that time that was very inspiring. Titled 'Kitne Musalmaan Hain' , it was a fervent appeal to keep the army free from the communal divide. To quote Shekhar, "Justice Sachar’s committee asked the armed forces: Kitne Musalman hain? What happens, when after an Army unit has spoiled his riot party, a communal thug asks: Kitne Musalman the?"

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Happy Philosophers

You are alive and surrounded by friends
For this alone give to God your thanks
You are lucky , there were many better
Who are dead now , you get chance another

Be cheerful buddy ,always have a smile to spare
watching you another might be lifted from his despair
Your smile brings joy, lightens up his heart
The Circle of Happiness joins people far apart

So this day bid farewell to your worries
No more drowning in your own miseries
And when you can see no light at the end
Say, "This too shall pass" and disbelief suspend

If sorrow does bring a frown to your brow
Just think what it will mean to you tomorrow
Not much , I can guarantee, for this is how it goes
What we worry now, means less and less as time flows

This is the secret to a life lived well
On yesterday's heartbreaks do not for long dwell
Aye , we are always singing , this Band of Brothers
No wonder they call us The Happy Philosophers

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Guilty as Charged

Iam writing this post against my better instincts. To write 3 posts on Mohd Afzal is to glorify him - a glory that he does not deserve. I have followed the different articles on this case religiously and now my mind is made up - To be Hanged till Death.

For those arguing for his clemency I will just point out that Mr Afzal himself has never requested pardon , never ever denied his alleged crimes. The Supreme Court in a recent ruling has pooh poohed his supporters claims in another case - The fact that he was tried separately and found guilty by 3 different courts ( The Sessions Court , The High Court and the Supreme Court ) negates the claim that he was denied a fair trial. India is not a banana republic, ours are not kangaroo courts.Two other persons tried alongwith him were acquitted ( The Supreme Court said Geelani's conduct during this period was very disturbing but still gave him the benefit of doubt). So take away the shroud of innocence and conspiracy theories that his supporters would cover Afzal with and we realize what we are really facing - Blackmail , pure and simple.

Hang him on the last Friday of Ramzan and face the backlash of Kashmiri Muslims , warns Ghulam Nabi Azad. To somehow portray Afzal as a God's soldier whose death will see Kashmir turning to a jihadi battleground is Osama Bin Laden's job - not a democratically elected CM's. Farooq Abdullah says Hang him and we will not sit silent, remember Maqbool Bhatt. Mr Abdullah , to refresh your memory, Maqbool Bhatt was the founder of JKLF who was convicted of killing an Indian intelligence officer. His death did result in the terrorist movement in Kashmir rising to monstrous proportions - but should that be an argument for Afzal's clemency. Are we going to show ourselves to be so weak kneed and spineless to terrorists ? Is striking such a Faustian bargain really going to save us like the "person who kept feeding the crocodile hoping it would eat him last".

One thing that astounded me was the ease with which Afzal's family got an audience with the President. Mr Kalam , you should have shown better judgement. Was this person the captain of the Indian cricket team returning from a series victory overseas? He is just a terrorist glorified by a lot of pseudo secularists , media outlets , self serving politicians , human rights activists etc jumping onto his clemency bandwagon.

Afzal has committed a heinous crime against the nation.Let him now pay the penalty.

P.S: ( Oct 22- 7:45 am ) :- Yesterday I had occasion to read the statement released by Afzal's wife. This statement was released in 2004 before her husband's case came up in the SC. The contents were disturbing to say the least.However , I still stand by this post. The Judiciary is the one institution I still have some respect for. When a case has been tried in the Supreme Court , no less, I have full confidence that the judges will have gone into all aspects.All of us need to respect this verdict . Otherwise where do we stop. Today it is Mohd Afzal, tomorrow it will be someone like Dhananjay Chatterjee.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dont Play With My Future

"Dont Play With My Future" - I remember these words staring at me from a poster held by a protestor during Mandal I protests. The words had seemed to me very poignant then. For a few more votes, the politicians were ready to play with the very lives of an entire generation. Frustration used to boil in me at that time - rage at the politicians for doing something that was so plainly wrong and rage at myself that I was so small, so insignificant to make any difference.

Still there was a silver lining during those days . Once I got into college , who could control my destiny then. Agreed , Govt jobs were out of my reach , but private jobs were still to be decided strictly on merit.The world seemed at my feet then. Not any more. Not satisfied with the gravy train they have rolled out , the powers that be now want to introduce caste based reservations in the private sector.

How long do you think an Infosys or Wipro can compete in the IT world if hobbled by having to implement quotas? Not my position to say that those getting in through quotas are somehow inferior , but certainly a quota based selection as opposed to merit based selection has its handicaps. Some might argue that this move will lift some people at least from the quagmire of poverty. Certainly , but at what cost? In five years , Infosys and Wipro will have become history. Where will you find the jobs then?

During my time in US and Australia , people used to come upto me regularly and ask me why dont you settle abroad. I used to reply proudly , " Sorry bhaiyya, I need my country". Sadly , it seems now, that country no longer needs me .

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I still remember the days she used to come to me running
A spring in her step, love in her eyes, her pigtails dancing
Ten long years I have loved her , and vice versa
I owe her much , into my life she brought fun and harsha

Iam an average poet , no homage to her this lousy work of art
How to eulogise her , She who is the queen of my heart
If there is a God, and he would grant me one more life
Nothing I would ask for , but to look at her day and night

What do you like most about her , people often ask me
Who am I to pick and choose, from one God created in his beauty
Her winning smile, lovely face , the cute dimple on her cheek
Her slender limbs, lowered eyes, from whence she gives me a peek

In politics our views are different, differences none too slight
She is wedded to the left , Iam uncompromisingly far right
I enjoy the arguments we have , and so does she I declare
The hotter the arguments , the closer the bond we share

Her ready wit attracts me much, who can but remember forever
Her crystal clear laughter, like the twinkling sound of water
I could like this go on and on,everyone who knows us would aver
If this be love sickness, who would wish to be cured ever

Promised to me by tradition, put in my hands by Fate kind,
She is my "mura pennu", mere mama ki ladki, do you mind
Never would have thought , I could love her more and more
Love increases day by day , who am I to keep score

Her thoughts steal into my mind unbidden, every moment of every day
She comes to me in my dreams every night, in the morn drifts away
Oh God, for this precious gift ,every moment of my life, I thank thee
For her who knows all my faults, still has the heart to love me

Thursday, October 12, 2006

On Secularism and Other Things

My last post on Mohd Afzal has earned me a new honorific - "Pseudo secularist". Can only blame it on the sad times we live in. This post is an attempt to set the record straight.

There are several things that disturb me about "Secular" India. The dictionary definition of Secularism stands for all religions being treated equally. Is this the case in modern day India - sadly not.

1. Iam not sure of the whole of India, but in Kerala, all Hindu temple collections are taxed by the govt. The places of worship of other religions are exempt.
2. The central Govt provides subsidy to Haj pilgrims. No such thing for Hindu pilgrims to Kailash Mansarovar.
3. One nation , one people - what about one law? The Constitution provides for Uniform Civil Code but after 50 years of Independence we still have a situation where a different law is applied to different persons based on their religion.

I could go on but this is depressing enough.

So my secret is finally out - a Hindu fascist in a pseudo secularist's disguise.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Broken Reed

I never knew how much you meant to me
till the day you bid me goodbye finally
Your smiling face would brighten up my day
Just one look and nothing more to say

Pour out my troubles to you and become calm
You would listen to me and be like soothing balm
I set you free , like I heard the the bard in the poem say
You never came back, no one told me it ends this way

I know Iam impulsive and you should have too
Never should have taken my words at face value
I should have listened to the wise man who said
Better to lose a new joke than an old friend

What to regret now , alone must mourn my loss
If I could turn the clock back, I wish alas
Can you give me one more chance baby , just one
I have learnt from my mistakes, will never let you run

Blinkered Vision?

A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. Terrorism knows no religion , knows no nationality. Its not my case to prove either the guilt or otherwise of Mohd Afzal. I have no sympathy for those who oppose his execution on the argument that the Death penalty is savage. I believe that those who live by the sword will die by it.

"Let a thousand criminals go scot free, but not a single innocent should be punished" - This was the lofty principle set for our Judiciary by our Founding Fathers. Justice must be seen to be done, said a friend of mine. I completely agree with that. More so , when the case is the attack on Indian Parliament and is being heard in the Supreme Court. Presumption of innocence till the guilt is proven is the basic right of every accused. The severity of the alleged crime should have nothing to do with this.

There has been some criticism that there was no direct evidence to prove Afzal's role in the act. I was astounded by such naiveity. In a case of this nature , you will have to rely to a large extent on circumstantial evidence.Terrorists can hardly be expected to take video recordings for the convenience of the prosecutors. Also no terrorist should escape on technicalities due to loopholes created by blundering investigating agencies.

Having said this, the majesty of the Law should not stoop to cold blooded revenge. A particular line in the SC judgement disturbs me. "The collective conscience of the society will be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender".If he is guilty , he should be hanged. The state should not yield to blackmail or public opinion. Justice should be blind.If on the other hand , this sentence has been carried out to assauge the feelings of the general public, who can honestly support this.

To quote Swami Vivekananda, "I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and nations of the earth. "

Satyameva Jayate.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mohd Afzal Ki Jai

In the court of the Honble Supreme Court of India

Justice v/s Indian Secularism

Accused : Mohd Afzal

Crime accused of: Terrorist Attack on Indian Parliament, responsible for 5 deaths

Verdict : Guilty. To be hanged till Death

Extenuating Circumstances : Born a Muslim. Only 5 commoners died , Your Honours. No one from the ruling class ( read MPs ) was affected

Final verdict : Changed to Life imprisonment ( eligible for parole after 5 years ).

Reader comments: Thank you , Your excellencies, for making India a laughing stock through the Free World. Long live Indian Secularism. May his sacrifice ( 5 years of prime life ) inspire a thousand terrorists.

Stop Press : The review petition for clemency is currently before the President. Heres hoping common sense prevails.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Cry, My Beloved Country

While the world sleeps, India awakes to freedom
Three score years ago, these words heralded a new dawn
A freedom paid for by many sacrifices, purified by their blood
If those fighters could see us now, wouldnt they leave disgusted

One scoundrel says Hindu Muslim Sikh Isai
Another has his own way - Telugu Kannad UP ke bhai
As if this wasnt enough along came VP with his Mandal
No votes for them, they need a kiss from your sandal

In a country where a thousand mouths go to bed unfed
We still find the time to fight over statues of stone and wood
Religion was never meant to divide people, we know from the scripts
What hope left when power has corrupted the mullahs and the priests

The cancer of corruption has laid this country low
Everyone has only this to say , "Mujhe Mera Hissa do"
Too refined to soil his hands, "Chalta hai" says the gentry
What price his honour, he who betrays his country

Dont go to bed, hoping someone will clean this mess
Do we continue thus or do we change ,its all upto us
We fought the foreigners, time again to don the role of sentry
Time for another Revolution, this time to save our country

Ever Forward Comrades

An ode to el Che ( whose Death anniversary falls on Oct 9th )

Very many years ago , we started this fight
Deep rooted injustices, we decided to set right
The path wouldnt be easy , we knew all along
We had swords in our hands,our lips had a song

We have won many battles, the war isnt yet over
Suffered many losses, the worst still waits yonder
Right is on our side, The truth is our shield
Though might and wrong come hand in hand ,we will not yield

What can the enemy give us worse than Death
Dying in glory , is better than living by stealth
What have we to lose except slavery and chains
Give up freedom and honour, and what remains

Stand tall upon the battlements and cry out thus
You can kill us but will never defeat us
United we stand , and though we number ever so small
The mightiest army facing us, will see us and pall

I have done my part , given my all and more
Let fresh blood now come, take the place of one so sore
This is no time for weeping, no time to mourn
Remember ,It is always darkest before dawn

Take care brothers, do not be led astray,
The path is narrow, our goal still far away
I now bid my farewell, carry on without me
Do not cry, do not mourn till we achieve Victory

Thursday, October 05, 2006

An Office Romance ( Vol 2 )

I fell in love the moment I first saw her
So lovely , so exquisite ,designed by what Power
Not greedy by nature , just one small desire
Watch her all day long , nothing else aspire

If her smile was this glorious, what about her laugh
Believe me when I say , "No idea boss, never got close enough"
She used to catch me often, stealing at her a glance
Did she understand or did she not, or just thought me a dunce

And then one day , a friend told me the terrible fact
To possess her , you must with the Devil make a pact
She is married, this guy went on
Light had come briefly , and now it was gone

Ever the optimist , my mind spoke up
What matters to you, be she married or broke up
Yours neither to own her , nor to hold and tremble
Yours but to idolise , like the priest in the temple

How do I tell her I love her more than power and pelf
What light cares about the moth that burns itself
Should I give her the address to this blog, do you think
For someone with her brains, a nod should be as good as a wink